It’s been a year and then some that COVID-19 has smacked us all in our collective faces; some have lost jobs; or seen their jobs reimagined; some have lost businesses or homes or, worst of all, their lives. But think for a second about the way COVID has affected our trans brothers and sisters, especially our trans brothers and sisters of color who, due to systemic oppression, have long faced issues like underemployment, homelessness, incarceration, medical racism, and on and on …
But the good news is that, while many on the right are attacking our trans brothers and sisters simply for being trans, the Marsha P. Johnson Institute [MPJI ]—named for the LGBTQ+ activist and self-identified drag queen who figured prominently in the Stonewall riots of 1969—an organization dedicated to protecting the human rights of Black trans people, has established a COVID Relief Fund, which provides one-time direct relief payments of $500 to those Black trans or nonbinary identifying people; as of today the organization has awarded $250,000 to 500 people.
Funds will go towards replacing lost income, help with rent, families, groceries, medical bills, and more because, as MPJI notes, nearly 20% of transgender people and 26% of transgender people of color have become unemployed due to COVID-19. Even more staggering: 67% of trans people of color say they worry about not being able to pay their bills due to the pandemic’s impact.
Elle Moxley, founder and executive director of the Marsha P. Johnson Institute:
"We are so proud to be able to offer our own stimulus check, if you will, to Black transgender people from around the country. MPJI is one of the only organizations giving cash assistance directly to the people.”
And to people who deserve it most of all.
Check out the Marsha P. Johnson Institute